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Corporal Kenny Lyon, USMC of Marion Station is seriously injured in combat  

Monday, my friend and neighbor, Gigi Windsor found out that her 20 year old son Kenny was injured by a roadside bomb while traveling in a convoy north of Fallujah.  He was airlifted to a Baghdad hospital.  No information was available except that Kenny was alive.  Tuesday morning Kenny was flown from Baghdad to a German hospital but the only information available was that he was in Intensive Care and had many life threatening wounds.  Two other Marines hit in the convoy were also seriously injured.  This is Kenny’s third year as a U.S. Marine and his second tour in Iraq.

Finally yesterday evening, after Congressman Wayne Gilchrest’s office petitioned for information on Kenny’s condition, Gigi was told that Kenny had  lost his leg and most of his lower face.  Doctors have reattached his jaw but are not sure the healing will be successful.  Kenny’s leg was amputated before leaving Iraq.  He had bones broken in his arm that severed an artery and countless shrapnel wounds all over his body with many being about the head, neck and chest area.  He is on a respirator, lying with his abdomen open because fluid continues to drain into his lower bowel cavity and the doctors can’t yet figure out where it’s coming from.  Though he is heavily sedated, the hospital staff says Kenny can squeeze your hand and follow you with his eyes.  Once he is stabilized he will be flown to Walter Reed Hospital in Washington, but infection is the big threat to his life now. Every wound has the possibility of becoming infected and every infection can be life threatening.

Kenny Lyon USMC Kenny was so excited to become a Marine and so proud that he would often wear his uniform when visiting home.  He helped my husband Dan hook up the electric system for our pond and was frequently a guest at our house for dinner.  That kid could eat!! Just before enlisting he came over regularly to work out with my son, Danny who had just returned home after four years in the Marines.  Danny helped Kenny get into shape before going off to boot camp.  Danny bought Kenny’s car just before Kenny left Marion Station for Camp Pendleton to start – what Kenny told us was “his new life.”  He planned to be a career Marine and there was no Marine more proud to serve his country.

News of service men and women being wounded or killed in the war, though sad has become common – we hear it on the news, but somehow our instinct for self preservation allows us to move on with our lives relatively untouched by the tragedy.  But news of this young man renders me powerless to move on. The coarse tragedy that young lives are being extinguished in their prime takes on new meaning when I think of Kenny (a baby, really) from my tiny piece of rural America being struck down so violently and senselessly - less than one week before his 21st birthday. 

The same body I hugged, blessed and wished well as he left our small home town for Iraq is now mutilated.  I keep imagining 20 year old Kenny, permanently disfigured and disabled, lying in a German hospital with a machine breathing for him and all his young hopes for the future dashed.  But more painful to me are conversations with his mother – my friend – who one minute is able to retain a quiet strength and the next is moved to sheer desperation frantically trying to cope with knowing that her only son lay broken and bleeding, suffering near death so far away from home. Can any mother imagine a worse tragedy?  Well, yes, sadly there are worse tragedies.

In the past, when I’ve heard “support our troops” I thought of all these young people in a general sense.  Naturally, it’s disheartening to picture brave young American troops standing in harm's way to protect the rights and freedoms that all human beings deserve, and sadly some are lost.  But my mind's picture is now transformed.  That generic, though proud image of our troops in combat is now a vivid rendering of thousands and thousands of Kennys ... with hopes and dreams and mothers and fathers and children who love them.

It’s almost unbearable to add to that image the tragedy of Iraqi families who have lost and continue to lose their loved ones.  If Kenny’s tragedy is the tragedy of one family, who can imagine the compounded tragedies of thousands who have suffered these and worse circumstances under the oppression and darkness that has covered the Middle East these past thirty+ years? 

Though our mortal minds cannot grasp the scope of suffering this war inflicts on the world’s people, our comfort lies in Christ who knows every hair on the head of those wounded, killed or spiritually crushed by the evil that penetrates the human spirit, prodding towards the choice of hate and selfishness over love and compassion.  Our only comfort lies in knowing Christ suffers with those who mourn, he knows their pain, he is the well from which we draw consolation, and nothing can separate us from his love.  Most of me hopes that our US troops killed the bastards that laid the bomb that got Kenny.  However, I can still cling to Christ’s request that we resist the temptation to hate and look for opportunities to embrace compassion when loving doesn’t make sense. 

Kenny at his homecoming on September 23, 2006Sorry for the long pontification (do any of you really believe I’m sorry for pontificating?). Bless those of you who have suffered through my opinionated discourse over the years.  But it does us good to pause and reflect when the path of life is altered permanently by affliction. Since the beginning of recorded history, prayer has consoled the suffering … thus my reason for sharing this story with all of you.

Please join me in prayer for Kenny and his mother, Gigi and ask your friends and those in your faith communities to pray for this family – especially this Saturday, May 6th when Kenny will turn 21.

Mindie Burgoyne - May 4, 2006

"I am the Lady of the Rosary. Continue always to pray the Rosary every day. The war is going to end, and the soldiers will soon return to their homes."   Our Lady of Fatima spoken to the child Lucia on October 13, 1917.

 




Kenny at his homecoming party
September 24, 2006

 

© Copyright 2006 by Trinity Publications.  All Rights Reserved.  Used only with permission.
No part of this work may be reprinted or used without the permission of the copyright holder.

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